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We Are Not Ourselves

by

We Are Not Ourselves Cover

ISBN13: 9781476756660
ISBN10: 147675666x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Awards


Staff Pick

This touching family saga follows Eileen Tumulty from childhood through late midlife. Stoic and resourceful, she strives to make a better existence for herself and her family than her hard-luck upbringing would allow. A realistic portrayal of the triumphs, tragedies, and regrets many of us face.
Recommended by Genevieve A., Powells.com

First-time author Matthew Thomas has a lot to live up to. His novel follows Eileen Tumulty from her birth in 1941 through her life as a child, young woman, wife, nurse, caretaker, and mother. She is as strong a protagonist as it gets. Thomas's characters are real: easy to get attached to, but not always easy to love. This novel is truly American and encompasses every virtue and vice behind that title with beautiful prose by an author who has only just begun.
Recommended by Jeff J., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Destined to be a classic, this “powerfully moving” (Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding), multigenerational debut novel of an Irish-American family is nothing short of a “masterwork” (Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End).

Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed.

When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn’t aspire to the same, ever bigger, stakes in the American Dream.

Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

Through the Learys, novelist Matthew Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII. The result is a riveting and affecting work of art; one that reminds us that life is more than a tally of victories and defeats, that we live to love and be loved, and that we should tell each other so before the moment slips away.

Epic in scope, heroic in character, masterful in prose, We Are Not Ourselves heralds the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction.

Review:

"In his powerful and significant debut novel, Thomas masterfully evokes one woman's life in the context of a brilliantly observed Irish working-class milieu... a definitive portrait of American social dynamics in the 20th century. Thomas's emotional truthfulness combines with the novel's texture and scope to create an unforgettable narrative." Publishers Weekly, starred review

Review:

"[A] masterly debut." Vanity Fair

Review:

"The Corrections. The Art of Fielding. Most years, there's a mega-hyped American epic that's heralded as a literary breakout. This year's, a saga about an Irish-American family in Queens, is refreshingly unpretentious but packed with soul — and profoundly moving characters." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"We Are Not Ourselves is a powerfully moving book, and the figure of Eileen Leary — mother, wife, daughter, lover, nurse, caretaker, whiskey drinker, upwardly mobile dreamer, retrenched protector of values — is a real addition to our literature." Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding

Review:

"The mind is a mystery no less than the heart. In We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas has written a masterwork on both, as well as an anatomy of the American middle class in the 20th Century. It's all here: how we live, how we love, how we die, how we carry on. And Thomas does it with the epic sweep and small pleasures of the very best fiction. It's humbling and heartening to read a book this good." Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End

About the Author

Matthew Thomas was born in the Bronx and grew up in Queens. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he has an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, where he received the Graduate Essay Award. He lives with his wife and twin children in New Jersey. We Are Not Ourselves is his first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Beth Herstein, June 6, 2015 (view all comments by Beth Herstein)
After the first few beautiful chapters, I completely surrendered to this wrenching, moving narrative -- the study of a family through the generations and in particular, the impact of changing times, prejudices, and a family tragedy. I love that Thomas creates such three-dimensional characters; I loved them even while I got frustrated with them, disappointed in them, disheartened by their limitations. Most of all, Thomas shows their strength, and their dignity in the face of both triumphs and challenges. Despite the heartbreak contained in this book, when it was over it left me with a feeling of hopefulness (and sadness, because I kind of didn't want it to end).
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Karen Rush, December 9, 2014 (view all comments by Karen Rush)
Eileen and Ed both grew up in dysfunctional families. They meet, marry and while Eileen is convinced that Ed is the perfect partner to help achieve her obsessive focus to live the American Dream, Ed has different aspirations. The author captures the early fractures and mounting emotional turmoil brilliantly. Can Eileen’s determination in having a child or move into a ‘better’ neighborhood serve as a magic potion to regenerate their lives? Would familial dysfunctional patterns re-surface in this generation?

When a mental illness is formally diagnosed, the impact on the lives of Eileen, Ed and their son Connell is devastating and isolating. About mid-way thru the book though, I became restless, as the story seemed to hit a plateau. I tired of tedious details and became frustrated with Eileen’s actions and inactions. But I stuck with it. The story remained a slow moving read but Matthew Thomas’s writing convincingly captures the courage, determination, strengths and weaknesses of his characters.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781476756660
Author:
Thomas, Matthew
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Literary
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20140902
Binding:
Hardback
Pages:
640
Dimensions:
228.6 x 152.4 mm

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We Are Not Ourselves Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.50 In Stock
Product details 640 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781476756660 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This touching family saga follows Eileen Tumulty from childhood through late midlife. Stoic and resourceful, she strives to make a better existence for herself and her family than her hard-luck upbringing would allow. A realistic portrayal of the triumphs, tragedies, and regrets many of us face.

"Staff Pick" by ,

First-time author Matthew Thomas has a lot to live up to. His novel follows Eileen Tumulty from her birth in 1941 through her life as a child, young woman, wife, nurse, caretaker, and mother. She is as strong a protagonist as it gets. Thomas's characters are real: easy to get attached to, but not always easy to love. This novel is truly American and encompasses every virtue and vice behind that title with beautiful prose by an author who has only just begun.

"Review" by , "In his powerful and significant debut novel, Thomas masterfully evokes one woman's life in the context of a brilliantly observed Irish working-class milieu... a definitive portrait of American social dynamics in the 20th century. Thomas's emotional truthfulness combines with the novel's texture and scope to create an unforgettable narrative."
"Review" by , "[A] masterly debut."
"Review" by , "The Corrections. The Art of Fielding. Most years, there's a mega-hyped American epic that's heralded as a literary breakout. This year's, a saga about an Irish-American family in Queens, is refreshingly unpretentious but packed with soul — and profoundly moving characters."
"Review" by , "We Are Not Ourselves is a powerfully moving book, and the figure of Eileen Leary — mother, wife, daughter, lover, nurse, caretaker, whiskey drinker, upwardly mobile dreamer, retrenched protector of values — is a real addition to our literature."
"Review" by , "The mind is a mystery no less than the heart. In We Are Not Ourselves, Matthew Thomas has written a masterwork on both, as well as an anatomy of the American middle class in the 20th Century. It's all here: how we live, how we love, how we die, how we carry on. And Thomas does it with the epic sweep and small pleasures of the very best fiction. It's humbling and heartening to read a book this good."
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